Shropshire is one of those counties where time stands still for decades. In fact if you ask people from anywhere in England where Shropshire is, it seems to be the county that nobody knows exists. You see we are sandwiched somewhere between the West Midlands and Wales.
Until recent years, the local authorities have conducted their business from fine concrete monuments hailing from the 1960s and in some places those quaint demountable wooden shacks. However, the last few years have seen a dramatic change in these places where government meets the needs of us country bumpkins.
The grey concrete and granite flagship building of Telford and Wrekin Council, the ‘Civic Offices’ as they were known locally were pulled early last year and its servers moved to other locations the side of the town centre. As a bit of an IT geek when corporations or organisations this size move premises, I am always fascinated by just how they do it (yes my favourite show on Discovery is “How do they do it?”). Literally hundreds of servers carrying the most sensitive and important data in this part of the Midlands was moved on a few miles down the road. A major data centre relocation seemed to happen with such ease and with very little disruption to the leisure centres, schools, housing trusts, libraries and other services which all rely so much on their servers and subsequent data.
There is talk of how long it will be before Shropshire County Council move from its equally old premises at Shirehall into purpose new build offices. Indeed some of its franchises and sister services have already moved to new purpose built premises. With responsibility for so much data for the entire county (and we are not exactly a small county even if hardly anyone north or far south of Birmingham has heard of us)the mammoth task of a data centre relocation does not bare thinking about!
A friend of mine works in IT for the local council and is the manager in a local authority school. One evening in the pub while we were discussing all the changes in the local area, I asked him about they carry out server moves as I know he was involved in data centre relocation, for his school when he took up the post.
“Oh it’s a huge job mate, “he sat up straight, chest puffed out and pint in hand, “hundreds of servers to move, not to mention Tape Archives, printers and safes. Wasn’t just a 9-5 either, lots of weekends and evenings. 24 hour job really! They have to complete a full and comprehensive study of the site, complete risk assessments down to what they terrain is like on route, sometimes the shortest route isn’t necessarily the best due to road surfacing that sort of thing as you are moving a lot of specialist and sensitive equipment”. ‘Blimey’, I thought and carried on with my pint, the conversation soon turning to Telford AFC’s latest match.